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Dedicated to Scriptural and Rabbinic Verification of Jewish Beliefs and Practices

Volume I, No. 28...Aug. 16, 2002

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In This Issue:
Adam's sin and punishment Knowledge and false beliefs Blessing on the new moon Parsha: female captive Conversion: false views 1, 3, 4 1, 5 1, 4 2 5

Adam's Sin and Punishment
rabbi israel chait

Suggested Readings:
see these and other articles at our site

Maimonides' 13
God's Existence Belief or

The basic foundations which all Jews must know as true. We urge you to read them:


Knowledge and False Beliefs
avraham b. simon

God's Land


an open letter to the jewish community:


Many people today feel that there is nothing wrong with different religions and ways of life that people lead. This opinion assumes that everyone is correct and living according to truth as long as it doesn't physically harm anyone. There is no such thing as a false belief or a wrong opinion. If a person wants to worship a certain god or live an instinctual lifestyle, then he should do it. If it feels good then it must be good (again, as long as it doesn't physically harm anyone). What position does the Torah take regarding this notion?
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In order to appreciate the entire sequence of events concerning man's creation, we must analyze the appropriate verses. In Genesis, chapter two, verse seven, it states, "Then the Lord G-d formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." This verse depicts man's origin and reflects that man's existence emerged as a living soul, "nefesh chayah". The phrase "living soul" is significant and must be analyzed. Shortly after man's creation, man was charged with a task. Verse 15 states "And the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to serve it and to watch it." In the following verses, G-d charged man with his first commandment. Man was allowed to eat from all the trees of the garden except from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. From this Tree of Knowledge man was expressly prohibited from eating. G-d thereby warned man that on the day he ate from the Tree of Knowledge, he would surely perish. It was at this juncture, after G-d gave man this stern warning about the Tree of Knowledge, that He made the following observation (verse 18). "And the Lord G-d said, 'It is not good that man should be alone, I will make a helpmate for him.'" It is puzzling that this verse concerning man's discontent in being alone is placed after the warning about the Tree of Knowledge. It would at first seem that this statement would have more logically been made immediately following man's creation since it reflects the nature of man's existence. Furthermore, the verses following this observation seem incongruous. These subsequent verses discuss the creation
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(Think for yourself before you read the answer.) Answer: As you will read in this week's issue, God desired man involve himself in a life of wisdom, which is greatly different than a life of morality. Naming animals requires that one define peculiarities of each species via analysis and definition. God attempted to submerge Adam in such a life by affording him opportunity to study creation by naming the animals. Clarify the distinction between true/false knowledge, and good/bad knowledge. Only the former teaches man intellectual truths. Have your children email us with their questions:

In the garden of eden, why did god bring all the animals to adam to have him name them?

Blessing Upon the New Moon
rivka olenick
"They are joyous and glad to perform the will of their Creator the Worker of Truth Whose work is truth. From the blessing of the New Moon. Chazal tell us that the Jewish women refused to give up their jewelry in participation of the creation and the worship of the Golden Calf (Gemara Yoma 66b). They were given as a gift on Rosh Chodesh, to abstain from all their work. The women were given the task of publicizing the day and in doing so should refrain from their work. It is not that work is absolutely forbidden or prohibited, because men may work, rather, it is in publicizing the day we should focus our attention to the special mitzvos belonging to Rosh Chodesh; special prayer, an additional Torah reading and the sacrifice brought on that day. Although we don't bring any sacrifices, we do recite prayers and read an additional portion from the Torah, and today women still refrain from their work. The Code of Jewish Laws calls this "a beautiful custom to be preserved. We don't mark off the day as "just another day. To the contrary, on the Sabbath preceding Rosh Chodesh the blessing of the new month is said. At that time we are already preparing ourselves in anticipation of the new month. So even in that preparation itself Rosh Chodesh has special significance. Women abstaining from their work expresses that this unique day is designated for praise of the Creator and we recognize Him as the Master of the Universe. We can only have this recognition of God's existence through his works and the moon symbolizes this for us. The moon is an incredible body that revolves around the earth and is part of a complicated universe that didn't just happen. The moon receives its light from sun, not from itself and God created it to be this way. God created the moon to reflect in the physical world so that we could see it. He gave it to us so that we could come closer in recognizing how profound His works are, as we are part of His created world, His created beings. We can't ignore the moon, in fact we are drawn to it, we stare at it and as we look at it with wonder we should ask: what is the moon's purpose in relation to me and the Jewish Nation?
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He is sensitive to the temptations of the physical world and feels that he cannot control himself under his own free will. He will likewise resent her sudden intrusion into his family life. The Torah recognizes man's instinctual desires. but rather will serve as a basis for his projection of hatred and resentment upon her as a wrongful intruder. Thus his desire for the beautiful captive is not merely an expression of his physical lust but rather the result of the ego/ideal as the all-powerful conquering warrior. Obviously. Rather. Rabbi Shimon concluded that this Nazir had undertaken his commitment in the ideal framework. This entire incident in the Torah raises many puzzling questions. He replied that he was a shepherd for his father. However there is another major component of chet. Hence. In fact Rashi tells us that eventually he will hate her. this ego/ideal will not be such a coercive force. of his transitory existence and he takes refuge and security in this ego/ideal. may there be many Nazirites like you in Israel. Why does the Torah grant a reprieve and allow the person to indulge his evil inclination. A person is constantly aware. 16.Corporate Identity award winning design: www. The Nazirite exclaimed to himself. but on the contrary. A Torah Jew must raise his level of conduct to function on a higher spiritual level of kedushah whereby he uses his Tzelem Elokim to live a life of chochmah. The Nazirite swore at that moment that he would shave his beautiful locks of hair for the sake of heaven. The soldier at the height of his conquests on the battlefield is enraptured with his own image as a great warrior. She will resent him and mourn her family that he killed on the battlefield. However there are many requirements prescribed in Deuteronomy chapter 21 verses 10 through 15 that must be undertaken prior to marriage. Therefore this Nazir questions his arrogance. It is interesting to note the question that this Nazirite asked of himself. Before a person eats meat he must perform shechita. There is a Gemara in Tractate Nedarim 9B which can give us insight into Yifas Toar. The warrior. Rashi teaches us that ultimately you will hate her.The Torah is dealing with the lure of man's ego. Therefore Rashi is not attempting to prophecize by predicting his eventual enmity toward the Yefas Toar. This stems from man's ego. The Torah is speaking with respect to man's evil inclination. he would still sin. One day when he drew water from the well he gazed upon his reflection whereby he recognized that his evil desires were driving him out of this world. Rashi is teaching us a valuable insight into human psychology and tachbulosav shel yetzer horah. This question seems to be misplaced. The Torah appreciated that by the time you are allowed to marry her you will no longer be overwhelmed by the image of the ego/ideal.1sgdesign. he teaches his son Torah. Thus the Torah commands that you should shave her head and pare her nails. He must shave her head. These requirements are necessary prior to your taking her as your wife. Rashi continues and states that if he does marry her. Most people do not commit sins simply because of their physical desires. he was drawn to her as a captive. will feel guilty returning with the Yefas Toar. A person must appreciate that he has physical desires and must satisfy them in accordance with halachah but only as a means to help him to live life based on his true essence. It is only after he contemplated regarding this image was he capable of appreciating that it was a false perception stemming from his ego. This rebelliousness is usually quashed by the mother. guided by the precepts of the halachic system. In contrast the warrior cannot justify ravishing the Yefas Toar as a means for his perfection. as an expression of his image as the omnipotent conqueror. it comforted him and allowed him to continue his essential existence as a Talmid Chocham. after he returns home to his wife. albeit extremely powerful. There was a Nazir who came from the South Country and I saw that he had beautiful eyes. Besides.In the situation of a Yefas Toar the son will rebel against the father as the authority figure and as his teacher of Torah. These Halachos are applicable when God grants the Israelites a victory over their enemies and they capture female captives. he is permitted to marry her. The most bothersome problem is how does the Torah permit a marriage to a gentile. However. and wait a period of nine months time. rashah why are you so haughty in a world that is not yours. We can now appreciate the Torah's remarkable insight into human behavior as elucidated by Rashi's insightful remarks. since she stands together with her husband in a united front. Therefore Rabbi Shimon as a general principle refrained from eating the sacrifice of a Nazirite.. Rashi is obviously bothered by the notion that the Torah grants a reprieve to the warrior and allows him to enter a relationship which is strictly forbidden under normal circumstances. The world is a reflection of chochmas haborey. She will likewise demand that he respect the father. as in all cases. He was extremely good looking and found security in his image as a playboy.Volume I. A person cannot always indulge his appetitive desires. Rabbi Shimon is teaching us an interesting insight into human behavior. He undertook the Nazirite vow because he possessed the intellectual conviction to realize that the world was not his. I asked this Nazir why did you destroy your beautiful hair. He therefore undertakes a vow to become a Nazir to repress his urges. Therefore the Torah was speaking only with respect to the Yetzer Horah. Rashi on verse 11 attempts to eradicate these difficulties. Their unstable family life will facilitate the son's rebelliousness and it will eventually become his standard mode of behavior. The compelling force in his life was this false image as a handsome and suave gentleman. He recognized that this individual was unique. a handsome appearance. Rashi further comments that the child of such a union will be a Ben Sorer U'Moreh. However the Torah is not just addressing itself to man's innate physical lust. whom he naturally respects. Page 2 YifasToar THE FEMALE CAPTIVE Transcribed by students Parshas Ki-Tzaytzay rabbi israel chait The Torah teaches us many interesting halachos with respect to wartime situations. A person cannot deny his instinctual nature and aspire to attain perfection by simply repressing his urges. Perhaps he will have a happy marriage? Rashi continues his prognostications and states that they will eventually have a son who is a Ben Sorer U'Moreh. he would ultimately disregard the halacha and marry her anyway. Righteousness is not an overnight transformation resulting from an emotional frenzy. The Torah tells us that when an Israelite soldier sees a beautiful woman captive who he desires. He questioned his haughtiness. The father represents the authority figure. but teaches us to control them. Most people are guided by their emotions.. and man is ultimately destined to be nothing more than dust and worms. This Rashi seems incongruous to Rashi's typical method of interpretation as professional web design Web Design . Rabbi Shimon thereby states that he arose and kissed this Nazirite's head and exalted. His reluctance to eat from the sacrifice of a defiled Nazirite was because he recognized the impetus behind a Nazirites vow. Many of the laws of the Torah address the yetzer hara. and had thick locks of hair. Thus the Torah allows him to take the Yefas Toar as his wife. Rashi tells us that the Torah is only speaking with respect to man's evil inclination. No. A person is blessed with the intellectual capacity to recognize the good and live his life accordingly. is truly the source of reality. The Torah's logic is compelling by demonstrating that if one succumbs to the temptations of a Yefas Toar it will ultimately cause him much travail. However Rabbi Shimon did eat from the sacrifice of this one particular Nazir.pdf Rashi seems to be more concerned with future events. The Torah teaches us to respect one's father and mother. He therefore questioned his The Gemara quotes a statement by Rabbi Shimon the Tzaddik wherein he exclaims that he never ate from the trespass offering of a Nazir who was defiled except for one time. The question was an astute one and is a reflection of the Nazir's appreciation of the forces that were overwhelming him and causing him to lead a life pursuing the instinctual pleasures. recognizing that the world is not his. He recognized the lure of the physical was transitory and that God. Why is Yifas Toar so unique that the Torah allows us to surrender? Furthermore how does Rashi know that he will ultimately hate her. What does Rashi mean when he states the Torah is only talking against man's evil inclination. the creator of the world. One of the most intriguing areas is that of the Yifas Toar. his evil inclinations. Therefore Rashi teaches us that the offspring of this marriage will be a Ben Sorer Umoreh. Simply because a person may fail is not sufficient justification to allow a person to surrender to his desires. In . They are required in order to make her disgusting to him. After adhering to all these requirements he can consummate the marriage. although perhaps unconsciously. He recognizes it merely as a means enabling him to continue his struggle in achieving perfection as a Torah Jew. since their relationship as husband and wife is one of resentment and hatred. Our forefather Isaac enjoyed the pottage that his son Esau brought him. The Torah recognized the compelling force of this image and realized that if it were to forbid the Yefas Toar. The Mesilas Yesharim teaches us that a person cannot jump into righteousness. Normally man can partake of the physical in the proper halachic framework. Why did the Nazirite question his arrogance. It would appear that his question should have been phrased in terms of his instinctual desires. it will invariably eventuate in his hating her and ultimately they will have a child who will be a stubborn and rebellious son. Change cannot occur through the denial of one's emotional makeup. she will not respect the father as a teacher of Torah because she does not appreciate the Torah life. pare her nails. After the war is over and the sweet smell of victory has dissipated. the father's relationship with the son is often characterized by rebellion of the son. His guilt will not be expressed consciously as a wrongful action on his part. This is an absurdity. Rather it requires hard work and the inner discipline to change oneself based upon one's intellectual conviction. We can now appreciate Rashi's insights into the Yefas Toar. However there are many nagging questions which remain. However. Their hatred will serve to foster the rebelliousness of the son as he attempts to play off one parent against the other. Maybe their son will be a prince in Israel. Every individual has an image of himself or an image of what he professes to be.Mesora. Change is a gradual process which demands greater knowledge. Therefore a Nazirite usually feels compelled to enter Naziros because he feels guilty. That part of the Yetzer Harah man must attempt to control. the Torah was cognizant that the image that a warrior possesses is amplified on the battlefield amidst the ravages of battle. Rabbi Shimon is teaching us that this is not the proper way for an individual to become a Nazir. If God would not permit him to marry this captive. The respect of one's father is mentioned first because it is more difficult for the son to respect the father. 2002 www.Aug. The Yerushalmi teaches us this concept by telling us that a person who does not enjoy certain fruits of this world is punished. However the son will naturally respect the mother as she is the one who comforts him. This image or ego/ideal is a powerful ally of the yetzer horah and many times entices the person to adopt a particular lifestyle. this enjoyment did not detract from his perfection. 28. However upon closer scrutiny we can appreciate the beauty of Rashi's psychological insights into human behavior. It requires recognition of one's nature and a harnessing of his energies to better himself. The mother will not bolster the father's authority. Rashi tells us that these prerequisites are required in order that she should no longer be appealing to him. Your ultimate destiny is to become worms and dust.

com Engagement. Man was created with a yetzer hatov. Verses 16 and 17 state. Man not only possesses the instinctual drive (akin to the animal kingdom). This gratification required a relationship whereby there was also a psychological attraction. his yetzer hara. which is the essential component of an animal's nature. However. Man took charge of his surroundings and used his intellectual abilities to master the environment. for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shall surely die. and he slept. that was to be the name thereof. man was destined to face the eternal struggle of "tov v'ra". G-d's command not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge was an appeal to man's intellect. but there was a psychological attraction as well. evil. 2002 www. & Anniversary Gifts info@giftique-gifts. as animals are also referred to as "chaya". but was unable to find a helpmate. Man possesses a hybrid essence of the intellectual and the instinctual. a blessing from G-d which allowed man and woman to function in a harmonious manner. "And the Lord G-d caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man.a psychological attraction was also required. did G-d then create woman.." As Maimonides observed. in the Laws of Forbidden Foods (Chapter 2. man discovered that he was incapable of satisfying his physical needs and desires in a purely instinctual relationship. The term "chaya" is precise. man was also bestowed with a yetzer needed a helpmate. dominate and rule the animal kingdom. When God ultimately created woman from man. In verse 23 man comments as follows in reference to his wife. "And the man called his wife's name Eve. the entire account of G-d's creation of the animal kingdom and man's mastery of the animals is concluded with a repetition of man's dissatisfaction with his solitude. Man's energies were directed (continued on page 4) Page 3 Adam's Sin and Punishment rabbi israel chait (continued from page 1) of the animals and man's mastery over the animal kingdom. 28. In verse 18 after G-d appealed to man's intellect by admonishing him not to eat of the forbidden fruit. Man was given the gift of intelligence. Through his cognitive efforts. since the pursuit of knowledge is the primary objective of the Talmud Chacham. Chapter 3. It was only after he made this observation. However. 16.Volume I. of every tree in the garden thou may freely eat. classify. Therefore. Was it really G-d's intention to deny knowledge to man? This also contrasts the traditional Judaic belief that G-d's greatest gift to man was his intellectual faculty. Thus. it is now significant that man was charged with his first commandment shortly after his creation. God acknowledged that it is not good for man to be alone. and even his instinctual drives are inexorably intermixed with his psychological awareness. Man is a complex being. "nefesh chaya".Wedding. God forbade man to eat the fruit in order to ensure that man would function in accordance with his intellectual abilities. Prior to the sin. the "yezter hara". When G-d created woman. Man's narcisstic desires fostered the relationship that developed between man and woman. man's libido could not be satisfied by directing all of his energies to the intellectual.giftique1. It is only after we observe the emergence of human nature through the events of creation that we can properly analyze the sin of eating from the Tree of Knowledge. Man was incapable of satisfying his instinctual desires with a being that operated solely in the world of the instinctual. It reflects the instinctual component of man. because she was the mother of all living. for such a state would lead to the frustration of man's instinctual energies." Man's attraction to woman stemmed from his love of his own self. it would seem that G-d was withholding from man the ability to discern good from evil. However. His excess energies which were not absorbed by the intellectual were frustrated and could not reach gratification. Therefore. As previously questioned. he was destined to constantly struggle with the passions of the instinctual. Man therefore attempted to satisfy his own instinctual needs. It was during the performance of this task that man observed that each animal was capable of satisfying its instinctual desires. "chaya" is also used to reflect the instinctual. but he also possesses the intellectual faculty which enables him to discern what is good and to observe the dictates of G-d. He then proceeded to create the animal kingdom. This task and divine commandment evidences the other aspect of man's nature. And the rib which the Lord G-d had taken from the man. and brought them unto the man to see what he would call them. man's energies would soon have been frustrated. at this point in time man lacked a sense of morality. However.Email: salamon. Man utilized his innate intellectual abilities to name. and to the fowl of the air. of what is "tov". Man realized that his dual nature could not be satisfied with an entity whose entire essence was instinctual. the sequence of events leading to the creation of woman is more understandable. and by definition could not be enduring or fulfilling. the intellectual faculty whose objective for man is to live a life guided by wisdom and morality. "And the Lord G-d commanded the man saying. With these observations. good. and whatsoever the man would call every living creature. and what is "ra". G-d then made the observation that it was not good for man to be alone . By disobeying this command and partaking of the forbidden Public Companies Seeking Funding . God made the statement that it wasn't good for man to be alone. and thus was capable of observing G-d's commandment. This basis of man's attraction for woman also serves to shed light on the reason why woman was not created at the time of man's creation. This term. Verses 19 & 20 state "And out of the ground. we can pose a few very basic questions. good and evil. it was only through his own efforts that he came to realize his inability to channel his total instinctual energies into the world of the intellectual. An analysis of relevant verses can help us examine man's true nature and determine that quite the contrary is true. Although man was created with both instinctive and intellectual drives. we must first make the following observations in reference to man's nature. which would always be in conflict with his intellectual nature. In such a state. Rather. it is interesting to note that man did not name her at the time of her creation as he did with the animals." In order to fully appreciate the order of events regarding creation. we can gain a new perspective on man's constant lifelong struggle to achieve perfection as a moral being." In addition to the seemingly questionable nexus between the verses. However. Man was to watch and guard the Garden of Eden and to enjoy the fruit of the trees as his source of nourishment. Why then didn't G-d create woman at the very inception of the creation of man? If it was apparent to God that man was not happy alone. This is rather puzzling. No. This evidences the other component of human nature. Because of his hybrid nature.pdf question regarding the denial of man of the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. Man's instinctual energies were not capable of fulfillment in a purely instinctual relationship . Law 3). In his Mishna Torah. By His statement in verse 18. The aforementioned verse 7 states that G-d created man as a living soul. and to every beast of the Following the commandment concerning the Tree of Knowledge. G-d was cognizant that man was unable to channel all of his energies to the intellectual. From this point on. the Lord G-d formed every beast of the field and every fowl of the air. These insights will help give us a better understanding of the account of creation. man abandoned his intellect for the appeal of the fantasy. these perfunctory inferences regarding man's nature are also important tools which enable us to more clearly comprehend the entire sequence of creation. Maimonides posed a famous Personalized Baby Gifts www. Such a relationship would only be physical. and He took one of his ribs and closed up the place with flesh instead thereof. then why didn't he create woman immediately? What was the compelling reason that God refrained from creating woman until after man was placed in charge of the Garden of Eden and prohibited from partaking of the Tree of Knowledge? It is obvious from the sequence of the verses that God chose not to create woman until after He had created the animal kingdom and placed man in its charge. verse 20 states.. However. he was prohibited by the word of G-d from partaking of the Tree of Knowledge. the excess instinctive energy which could not be satisfied by intellectual endeavors was channeled into a healthy relationship with Eve." It is not coincidental that G-d created woman from man's rib. it is apparent that G-d created man with a dual . Furthermore. but for Adam there was not found a helpmate for him. he became aware of his inability to channel all of his instinctual energies into intellectual gratification. And the man gave names to all cattle. it was only after the incident of the snake (which enticed them to eat from the Tree of Knowledge) that man gave woman a name. Verses 21 and 22 state. This observation is attested to by the subsequent series of verses. "bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. it is evident that the composition of man's nature includes the instinctual. Maimonides used this term "chaya" to reflect the instinctual. This dual aspect of man's nature is the primary message of these verses. As a result. This explains the medrash (allegory) that man originally had two forms from which the woman originated. made He a woman and brought her unto the man. Thus G-d created woman. It is therefore apparent that the entire creation of man was designed by G-d in a manner which allowed man's nature to play a role in the emerging sequence of events of creation.Mesora. once man disobeyed this command. and they will also afford us an appreciation of the complexity of the nature of man.brothers@verizon. based on these verses alone. but the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil thou shall not eat of it. man was not solely attracted by his instinctual desires. instinctual needs and desires.Aug. man's energies were primarily directed to intellectual endeavors.

The mitzvah of Kiddush HaChodesh. and as a result. yet the appeal of the fantasy was overwhelming. I would like to say that when a person gazes intently at the moon's full reflection one's mind is illuminated. man did not experience embarrassment. His mind was naturally drawn to the intellectual. Thus." Prior to the sin. Mankind was destined to be ensnared by fantasy. man's evil inclination was controllable. as it is executed for the benefit of man. It would seek its initial gratification Blessing Upon the New Moon rivka olenick (continued from page 1) Every month we are given the opportunity to look at the full moon and once again be inspired by the Hand of God. First. but after the sin. By commanding man not to eat of the Tree of Knowledge. It is therefore no coincidence that immediately after G-d pronounced His punishment for the sin (and man was endowed with both good and evil inclinations). man began to utilize his conscience to channel his energies properly. G-d was disciplining man's instinctual drives and demonstrating that the instinctual must always be subordinated and controlled by the intellectual. The tree was an ordinary tree. Man's sin molded his soul. because she was the mother of all living. However.. Torah knowledge about the Forefathers who lived lives of truth. A punishment from G-d is given to help benefit man. the Torah explicitly tells us that they were not ashamed of their nakedness. This particular event bestowed man with good and evil inclinations. He created us and gave us every possible way on . The choice is in his hands. Verse 6 states. as it says in Psalms 100:2. It appealed to man's yetzer hara." Page 4 Adam's Sin and Punishment rabbi israel chait (continued from page 3) towards phenomena that were physically present.Aug.Mesora. By choosing such a path. An analysis of the verses subsequent to the sin can help us to understand the punishment and its ramifications with respect to the human personality. distances himself from G-d. The appellation of a "gibor". (From Chapter 8 of the Rambam's Eight Chapters/Shemonah Perakim). wisdom. man has the free will to withdraw the energies which are now naturally attracted to the physical by the power of fantasy. His energies became attached to the physical and naturally flowed to it. He becomes drawn to and affected by the trappings of physical pleasures. the ordinary individual who cannot properly channel his energies away from the instinctual. However. the ability to discern good. "And the woman saw that the food was good to eat and that it was a delight for the eyes and a tree to be desired to make one wise. Subsequent to the sin. and from bad to good. he experienced shame and covered his nakedness. "And the eyes of them both were opened. which is capable of paralyzing him. We see the moon as analogues to ourselves. However. Its appeal was solely based on the prohibition to indulge in them. From this we can ascertain that a punishment from G-d is unique. She took of the fruit and ate it. his emotions cloud his intellect and the physical corrupts his thinking process. that prior to the sin. A wise man is one whose thought process is not influenced or corrupted by the instinctual. However. in punishing man for the sin of eating from the Tree of Knowledge.. "To the moon He said that it should renew itself as a crown of splendor for those borne (by Him) from the womb. Our rabbis teach us that prior to the sin. before man sinned. The conscience of man helps him to determine good from evil. and inner strength. his imagination overwhelms him. The Messiah will help restore us as the Jewish people to be One Nation with the rebuilding of the Temple and once again regain our leadership as "the light unto the other nations.Volume I. is reserved for one who conquers the evil inclination. recognizing that truth comes only through the knowledge that God gave us access to. a strong person. to intellectual pursuits. the earth. However. intellect. G-d's punishment is different from that of man. It is only with the aid of the yetzer hatov. according to the Rambam who states: "For in every situation a person has the choice of changing from good to bad. man's energies were directed to the physical phenomena that were in his presence. man also molds his soul. Battling instinctual drives requires great fortitude. by partaking of the tree. not only now. The yetzer hatov. We can renew ourselves by turning to the vast and great knowledge that the Torah offers us. and can redirect them towards the intellectual. it became a constant source of man's attention. directs his energies and becomes attached to and leads the life of a chacham (wise man) and becomes close to God. his desires. man's energies were naturally directed to chachma. Use of our real free will can bring us closer to repentance and further away from sin even though we are never completely free from sin. lit up by the realization of one's free will and the ability to activate it. verse 7 states. and his energies would from then on be guided by the imagination. After the sin. . and his energies were automatically drawn to thought. that man can use his free will and channel his energies to the acquisition of wisdom. It was a definitional exercise that required his intellectual abilities. and gave also to her husband with her. We were created only for this purpose. Shame is a function of man's conscience. if he exercises his free will wisely. The tree was appealing to the eye. so can we. and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. Before the sin. Man was doomed. 16. G-d. The enticements of the tree and the entrapment of man's imagination allowed man's energies to become fixated on the physical. With God's help Klal Yisrael will be whole again and shine brilliantly on the earth like the moon shines over God's universe. individually and through each other to "Serve Him with gladness and exultation. In chapter 3. In any event. there was a qualitative change. man's good inclination. .pdf from the world of the physical. though common. man's energies naturally flowed to the physical. man fell prey to the instinctual. verse 20 relates. By indulging the fantasy. Hashem Who renews the months. This sin shaped the human personality for the millennium. but in His works of all of creation. he did not possess the ability to discern good from evil. No. those who are destined to renew themselves like it. 28. man succumbed to the allurement of the fantasy. and was good to eat. We often forget this idea and get so caught up in our "own world" and yet God gives us a chance each month to renew ourselves with the realization that we have a purpose in His world which is to align ourselves with the will of the Creator. the Jewish people and as the moon goes through stages of such smallness to such greatness. by His work in the world. and requires great conviction. Before the sin. This manifests that man was using the yetzer hatov to help direct his energies towards wisdom. in their deeds and in their trials we learn from them and they give us hope and inspiration to survive individually and as a nation. G-d thereby instilled in man a conscience to help him progress into the world of the ideational and not stagnate in the world of the physical. to be victorious in this battle." Maimonides noted that this verse evidences the breadth of man's desires. and to glorify their Molder for the name of His glorious Kingdom. man now had an additional ally to help combat the forces of the physical . the reason is now readily We look at the moon and we are in awe of God's mastery of the universe." It seems incongruous that this occurs immediately after the pronouncement of man's punishment. whenever man sins and is overwhelmed by the desires of the instinctual. he too molds his soul. his conscience. man's only hope for salvation is to rechannel his energies. though never tasted. The Torah is teaching us by contrasting these fact. down through the generations to our present time. and by working to change and remove our flaws. It is only with the aid of the yetzer hatov that man can overcome the pratfalls of sin and can withdraw his energies away from the physical and utilize his intellect to live a life based on wisdom. and he did eat it. He exercised his intelligence to classify and name his wife. and they knew that they were naked. Thus. The intellectual was overpowered by the instinctual. Then. man's libido naturally was attracted to wisdom. After the sin man's energies flow first to the physical. as chapter 3. Before man sinned. 2002 www. "And the man called his wife Eve. man incorporated into his personality the vehicle by which the energies of man are drawn to the physical. Man's instinctual desires were internal and external. has armed man with the ability. A task such as this is monumental. Blessed are You. which is always within our capability. Our mesora (oral tradition) tells us that the fruits of the Tree of Knowledge were not unique. blessing of the new month provides each of us with the opportunity to personally reflect with the hope and motivation that in changing and renewing ourselves we have the additional hope and belief that God will bring about the Ultimate Redemption. After the sin. for at the moment his energies became fixated on the physical. helps man to withdraw his energies from the world of the physical and redirect it to the world of chachma.

Now. is the only way a person can reach G-d. completely "ka halacha" following lengthy study with an Orthodox rabbi . who commanded after Moses. Your answer made me laugh out loud.Aug. These are not methods that bring a person close to G-d.Volume I. they are distorting the Torah. "The object of this commandment. It involves the greatest falsehood. if we look carefully at the Torah. A person does not have to harm others to be considered evil. Lavan or Bilaam. that I came to understand more clearly the need to insure for my family and myself adherence to Halacha and a Torah way of life. The greatness of their evil is that they used their minds to accomplish their emotional desires instead of using their minds as their guide in perceiving reality and letting their emotions fall in line with that reality. some of their practices have infiltrated Judaism. Esau. He must act it out. How. How. 'For what reason did G-d do so to this land And they will say 'Because they forsook the covenant of G-d and they went and served the gods of others gods that they knew not and He did not apportion to them. He does not use his mind. your G-d. also married a convert. Over the passage of time. So G-d's anger flared against the land. The Rambam mentions this last notion." Rashi explains. We must learn about Bilaam's great desire for fame and fortune. G-d wants us to study Esau's purely instinctual life. might not recognize my Jewishness. It says in Deut. with joy. Native Indians and many African tribes today have fallen to this level. I do not see any reason why one would hold a view which God doesn't hold Himself. simon www. the death and the evil." Those who worshiped the Golden Calf didn't harm anyone. that I have always felt fully accepted as a member of the Jewish people. It is based on the distorted notion that G-d can be physical. The Torah explicitly tells us there is only one method of reaching G-d. why did the Torah record them? Why didn't the Torah just record the lives of those which it considers righteous so that we may learn how to live according to their ideals? Why do we have to know about Lavan. Finding home. 16. Can this be true? Please explain. I hope. 18. Upon study of these various personalities we see that the Torah considers some as righteous and some as evil. Unfortunately. I felt that I had been able to discover my elemental spiritual and religious sense. to understand their actions. He lives purely according to his instinctual emotions. they further a person from Him. I never felt that I was "converting" in the sense of changing my deepest convictions." We are obligated to learn what their practices are. "And all the nations will say. They are steeped in lifestyles of greed and ego. understand that they are false and teach our children not to follow them. unfounded ideas. and to teach your children: Don't do this and that because it is the statute of the idolaters. It is not that I have any doubt in my heart or my mind of myself. to live his life. which is the essence of Man. and His judgments. how could certain people be considered evil? Weren't they living according to the way which made them feel good? Perhaps you will argue that these people harmed others. to bring upon it the entire curse that is written in this Book. The more a person involves himself in false practices. we must tell our children it is wrong. that which I command you today. Esau and Pharaoh? The answer is obvious. The Jews upon entering Israel for the first time were instructed to wipe out the seven nations that were occupying the land as it states. as the foundation of idolatry. you are Jewish. Avodah Zara 1. 9. Not only has he forfeited his right to exist. the emotions that lead a person after these things are powerful and we all slip on occasion." Throughout the Torah we only see people praying directly to G-d. which are false. Hindus. perhaps. it is their mistake. If. Rather. from the time I first determined to "convert. as a Jew. to your knowledge. Thank you in advance for your time and attention. When we learn how Native Indians or African tribes wore certain clothes or charms to ward off evil spirits. which is undoubtedly idolatry. 28. he will undoubtedly corrupt others thereby causing them to forfeit their existence. we accept the fact that there are certain ways of life that are evil. Today. then. response. A person is not evil by simply desiring to do something. even over x years ago when I made my first serious steps. could some people be considered evil if they did not cause others harm? The answer is their way of life was corrupt. would such a person recognize my son as a Jew? Your further counsel would be most at least. We can learn how many of our emotions are false and should not be followed Conversion rabbi moshe ben-chaim False Views on Reader: I am a convert to Judaism. "But you should learn to understand and to teach. we see that many of them did not harm anyone. you shall not learn to act according to the abominations of those nations. I hope I can be of assistance in providing answers to any of your questions. We learn about personalities such as Jacob and Moses. I would like to have the understanding of the position. for example. "When you come to the land that Hashem. However.pdf just because it feels good. G-d has given us the tools to overcome them. If we do not gain this insight. On the contrary. Chapter 36). One's history is of no concern to God. 16). which precluded him from being a partner in the Nation of Israel. as is distinctly stated. Eventually the intermediary becomes a god itself as the Rambam shows in the Mishneh Torah (Hil. Chapter 36). Through careful study of the various personalities of the Torah. "See. Page 5 (continued from page 1) Can a person have a false belief? Are there many different ways to reach G-d? Should a person live his life according to the way he sees fit? The Torah records the lives of many different personalities. 2002 Knowledge and False Beliefs avraham b. with humility. we must teach our children not to do it.Mesora. Granted. It is the cause of our exile as it says. 1). Yet. 20. yet we see what happened to them. The Torah is telling us if a person does not have correct ideas about G-d. Most people will acknowledge that a person living a life of greed and egotism is not living according to Torah ideals. say their prayers and go home. His statutes. x years ago. but rather that I am interested to know exactly on what basis some Jews might have that belief. One of my friends has told me that my conversion would not be recognized in a certain community. In fact. Any talmud chocham would definitely recognize both yourself and your son as Jews." They did not have to physically harm anyone to deserve annihilation. to walk in his ways. Throughout the ages our prophets risked their lives warning us to abandon its various forms. never to an intermediary. however. Christianity. which is to gain true knowledge of his Creator. how corrupt they are. They were living according to principles. I say that. There are those that go to the graves of ancestors and pray to them so that they will take their prayers to G-d. corrupt notions of G-d. he has no right to exist. If they don't. End of story. Yet. or that of your son. May you set an example for others as a true lover of God. You should feel comforted that many of our prayers and many Jewish texts are the writings of King David and King Solomon. If your conversion was performed by an orthodox rabbi. I felt the overwhelming responsibility to my unborn child that there be no question whatsoever of his Jewish bona fides. They believe that certain physical objects have the power to do good and evil. and prompt. Joshua. I knew that I must take all steps necessary to comply strictly with Halacha. "Idolatry is founded on the idea that a particular form represents the agent between G-d and His creatures. "You shall not allow any person to live (Deut. then you will live But if your heart will stray and you will not listen I tell you today that you will surely be lost(Deut. both descendants of Ruth. Very often idol worshipers don't harm anyone. I have placed before you today the life and the good. we are surrounded with a variety of idolatrous ideas. then. the Torah considers idolatry as the greatest evil. in the words of the Torah 'that they teach you not' (Deut.." The Torah lifestyle. What is of import to Him is the current level of the individual. is to extirpate that false opinion. Still. Of course. He is not living in line with his purpose of existence. not upholding it. "I judge as one is now". we gain deep insights as to the correct way to live. God stated "ba-asher hu sham". I am fortunate. 18). since I believe that I do have a "yiddishe kop" I also read between the lines of your response. of knowledge. So it was then. It was a gentile friend who suggested to me that some sects. and give you a warm welcome on making the decision to convert. truth and good character. We are constantly commanded not to be involved in its practices. in the Moreh Nevuchim (Part 1. In general. who converted. to observe His commandments. They simply perform their rituals. in order that other men should not be corrupted by it any more. both righteous and wicked. are we supposed to know which practices are idolatrous and which are not? The Torah provides the solution. the more he removes himself from the Ultimate Source of Truth. Mesora: It should be of no consequence whether another person recognizes your status. Lavan's deceitful ways and Haman's megalomania. as well as the notion that we need to pray to intermediaries. In other words. to love Hashem. 30. is the most prevalent. we are bound to follow them. even if it is not one with which you (or I) agree. was considered evil yet the Torah does not say anywhere that he actually harmed anyone. Thank you very much. religious if they support stricter. In order to live lives according to true principles we must understand what the false principles are. And G-d removed them from upon their soil and He cast them to another land. but many people today feel they are being MORE . and my community. then. He merely desired to kill Jacob. your G-d. as this very day' (Deuteronomy 29." Actually. These customs have no source in the Torah. The personalities that the Torah depicts as evil led their lives guided by their emotions. So I very much appreciated your warm words and comforting response. Hashem never cared for a person's history. We must understand that these lifestyles are based on false ideas and they are harmful to a person. and the Torah did not endorse it. indeed. there are many legitimate customs in Judaism which are not mentioned in the Torah. Reader: Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Reader: Thank you for your thoughtful. When we see Christians praying to icons and saints. Man did. and with the knowledge that I was (baruch Hashem) to become a mother.. gives you. Mesora: You should not be dismayed by what any sect recognizes. Many people today are no different than Esau. 20. Any other lifestyle will cause a person to become lost. 1518). Hashem didn't create 'eligions. Many Jews walk around with objects they feel will protect them from evil. 23-27). It is unfortunate. No. He becomes evil by living an instinctual lifestyle. If the opinion of today's society is correct. Alongside them we learn about Lavan and Pharaoh. Why were they commanded to kill everyone? The Rambam comments on this verse in the Moreh Nevuchim (Part 1. the Torah commands us again and again to obliterate all traces of idolatry from our midst. because I know deeply that teshuvah is a process." These nations were involved in every form of idolatry.